Things really haven’t changed much, it seems …

This is a quote from the The Jugurthine War, written by Sallust (Gaius Sallustius Crispus) about 41 B.C., nine years after he was expelled from the Senate for alleged immorality and approximately six years before he died at the age of fifty-one.

Men have no right to complain that they are naturally feeble and short-lived, or that it is chance and not merit that decides their destiny.  On the contrary, reflection will show that nothing exceeds or surpasses the powers with which nature has endowed mankind, and that it is rather energy they lack than strength or length of days. 

But if the soul is enslaved by base desires and sinks into the corruption of sloth and carnal pleasures, it enjoys a ruinous indulgence for a brief season; then, when idleness has wasted strength, youth, and intelligence, the blame is put on the weakness of our nature, and each man excuses himself for his own shortcomings by imputing his failure to adverse circumstances. If men pursued good things with the same ardor with which they seek what is unedifying and unprofitable — often, indeed, actually dangerous and pernicious — they would control events instead of being controlled by them, and would rise to such heights of greatness and glory that their mortality would put on immortality.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16)


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